I don't know if it's officially a gaffe or if no one cares, but here's Herman Cain with GQ:
Chris Heath: What can you tell about a man by the type of pizza that he likes?
Herman Cain: [repeats the question aloud, then pauses for a long moment] The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is.
Chris Heath: Why is that?
Herman Cain: Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. [laughs]
Devin Gordon: Is that purely a meat question?
Herman Cain: A manly man don't want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.
There's nothing more manly than longing for a mouthful of nice, hard sausage.
This reminds me of Pansy-gate from back in 2008. NC Governor Mike Easley said Hillary Clinton would make Rocky Balboa look like a pansy (he meant it as a compliment to Clinton) and a queer listserve I was on erupted in a debate of whether he meant pansy as a gay slur or pansy as "feminine and weak." Because making fun of someone for being feminine, and equating femininity with weakness, is totally fine? And there's no relationship between homophobia and sexism?
Of course, no further proof is needed that Cain is unqualified to be the president of the US, and the fact that anyone's taking him seriously says more about our political culture than it does about Cain himself. So this post isn't meant to take a jab at him.
Instead, I'm more interested in how someone, even someone with public speaking experience who's just joking around, can use language that attacks and makes him sound more like a bully than a jovial pizza expert. There were dozens of ways to go with the question other than gender essentialist BS, but after a long pause that's where his mind went. This stuff is just a reflex for some people